Monday, April 13, 2009

Restoring Order - Project Number One

Okay, so I've gone back and forth about where to start. And I've decided to start with the thing that gnaws at me every time I need to go into my boy's room. And, quite frankly, I am sick of the overwhelming feeling that overtakes me when I go in their room to do anything. What is it that is so demanding of my attention and energy? It's their clothes. AAAAAHHHH!!! Their closet is brimming over with clothes from sizes newborn to 4T.

So, my focus this week is my boy's room. Here are the things I hope to get done:
  • go through all of the clothes and organize the ones I want to keep and donate the ones we don't need.
  • Find and purchase a new rocking chair (The one we had became a safety hazard when we realized that little toes and fingers can easily get smooshed (or worse!) and it had to go. But, oh we need a new one!!!)
  • Move bookcase out of the room and create a reading corner outside of the room
Okay - so I've taken my before pics and hopefully will have some great after pics to take as well.

How about you? Do you have any tips on organizing children clothing? If so, please share!


Ginger said...

Hi Rebecca. What I have found helpful with my son (who is nearly 15) is that I keep a box for the Salvation Army. When he outgrows something, in it goes. Just last week he complained about two pairs of jeans being too tight. I told him to put them to one side so I could add them to my box. Note: They were already clean; he told me this after he put them on in the morning.

Michal said...

I have OCD on this topic...there is no clutter in my kids rooms because it is something I keep up with. Every season I go through my kids clothes. I pull out all the pieces that are not appropriate for the new season because chances are very good that they won't fit next time that season comes around. Then I figure out what fits from last year, usually not much. I take everything down to the basement and fold the clothes in to large plastic totes that I mark with gender and age. Oh, I get rid of anything that has a permanent stain and trash or donate. I keep all our old clothes for my sisters to use or for me to use again...maybe someday? Then I figure out what I need to buy to get them thru the upcoming season.
Hope this helps, it has worked for me for 5 years. Now that my sister uses my old kids clothes, all I have to do is find the right bin and send it to her. Sorry this was so long, but hope it helps.

Just Me said...

Like Michal, going through my kid's clothes is something I do monthly. I take everything out of their drawers, figure out if it fits or not (they are 3 1/4 & 16 months) then refold anything that does fit. I keep quantity under control by limiting the number of clothes they have to the drawer space - if there's no more room in the drawer, then we don't buy anything new. Dresses, skirts, nice shirts and overall outfits get prime spot hung up in the closet.

As Michal said, anything with a permanent stain goes straight for donation. Also, anything that I didn't really like or they didn't wear (because I didn't like it) goes into donation - if I didn't like it, my sister won't either! We are constantly given tonnes of clothes because they are the only niece/nephew/grandkids, and they aren't all that "cute" (in my opinion).

Anything I'm saving for my sister gets put into space bags, by size, and then stored in the top of the closet. I highly recommend spacebags (available at Bed, Bath & Beyond).

Good luck!

Jenn said...

I am excited to take part in this!

I have four children: two boys, two girls. An older "set" and a younger "set." At the end of the a season I pack up the older kids stuff in a tote to save for the younger kids. It generally works well. Stained garments get cut into rags. The younger kids stuff gets bagged for charity.

My biggest challenge right now is the sheer volume of clothes. They seem to multiply weekly. I would really like to simplify their wardrobes, but then again, they are kids. Spills will happen, dirt will happen, ect. and it's nice to have extra on hand. So, still struggling with that aspect.

~Babychaser~ said...

I'm totally in on this... I'll try to work in there today between lunch and nap time. OOO... I'm sooo excited! I hate it in there.

Stephanie said...

I'm so excited. I have no really great tips...I think a lot of it depends on if you're done having children...which we are. So I was thinking about this just yesterday. I think I'm going to get a tub for each child....label it...and then put things that they will grow into in their tub. After the last boy and girl have gong through them I can choose to donate or toss if they're in bad condition. At any rate I too am open to suggetions and ready to get started.

Anonymous said...

I guess this won't be too helpful for you right now, but for girls it helps tremendously to buy mostly dresses. It cuts down on the number of items you have to launder and keep together. Also, for my son I don't buy "matchy" outfits. All casual shirts match all casual shorts, dress shirts match all dress pants. Once you have done the work of purging and sorting, this (combined with diligence) are the best maintenance systems I have found. Also, do you have consignment sales nearby? They are huge here in Nashville, held once in the spring and once in the fall. Most of the ladies I know sell outgrown clothes at these rather than store clothes for younger children. You can make enough at these to pay for each season's clothes without ever spending $ out of pocket. This works great if your kids aren't too close in age or you aren't sure if you will have another baby. There is nothing more frustrating than pulling out totes of clothes you saved only to discover that they are out of season/style for the next baby :)

Anonymous said...

Great tips...but should we be donating things with permanent stains? As a volunteer at a Crisis Pregnancy Center, I go through so many donated items that need to be pitched. Just "food for thought".

Jennie in Illinois

Dawn said...

I currently have a 15 month old boy & am pregnant with another baby boy due in August.

Each size of clothing (NB, 0 - 3 months, 3 -6 months, etc) has its own plastic storage bin, stacked in a pile in the back of my son's bedroom closet.

My neighbor has a 3 week old baby boy, so she's currently borrowing our newborn clothes. When her little guy outgrows those, she'll take the 0-3 month tote. She's doing the same so that we can borrow her son's clothes when we need them.

With boys so close in age, we're able to keep clothes organized by passing our bins back & forth. Each tote has a list of its contents so that we return the right clothes to each other.

I also have bins of larger-sized clothes that were given as gifts or as hand-me-downs. Since they're already organized by size & contents are labelled, I know what we've got for each of the next few clothing sizes...that way I know what items/sizes to look for at garage sales this summer.

Now if only my whole house was as organized as the baby clothes!

Last week I started organizing our playroom. I suppose I'll continue on that goal through this week. Thanks for the encouragement that this series will offer!

deirdre said...

I have a 3 month old, 2 1/2 year old and a 13 and 18 year old and oooo boy do the clothes pile up!!! fast!!! I keep a box in the bottom of a close hallway closet and just toss the stuff in there to be donated so it is not always such a chore..... still have massive clothes issues..

Michelle said...

We have a 5 year old girl, a 2 1/2 year old boy, and are expecting again (hopefully not for the last time either, so I'm saving pretty much everything.

I'm not quite as organized as some of the ladies above...I sort seasonally rather than monthly. I keep a little pile of outgrowns in the back of their closets, and then when we switch to summer from winter or vice versa, I pack up all of the outgrowns into a labelled tote, and put the things they might still fit into the next winter/summer into the tote with the next size up clothes. Because I do it pretty much twice a year, we store all of the totes in the basement, tucked away in a corner.

Good for you, Rebecca, for tackling the chaos - once you settle into a system, you'll feel so much more organized.

thehomespunheart said...

Oh, little clothing. My worst organizing nightmare come to real life. I cannot express how I dread this area of the house - how messy I let it get, etc...

My mom agreed to help me with this when she is here in a few weeks - so I'm thinking of another project for this week.

Thanks so much for hosting - I wish Michal could come help me clean out the clothes!!!!!!!


Anonymous said...

This is my worst area too. My boys share a room and even though they are 4 years apart, they are only about 1 size apart. There are so many things I need to go through. It will easily take a full day, so I am not looking forard to it. Another issue is that I really need to have them try on the clothes to see if they fit, because they have some things that are size 7 and then other things taht are size 10. Different brands run too small or too large, so I can't just go by the numbers!

*carrie* said...

I smiled reading this post, Rebecca, because I can just imagine your phone conversation with Monica about the clothes in which you decided to host this series. I love organizing clothes (mine and kids'), so it's really interesting to me that it's one of Monica's least favorite tasks.

Thanks for the reminders from 5 Aspects, too.

Amanda said...

I do the totes-by-size (no gender yet b/c I have two boys :) - so I've got 0-3mo, 3-6mo, etc. Fortunately I have a nice large closet in the nursery that fits all the bins we have right now, so as something gets outgrown, I toss it in the next bin and pull things out as I need them.

I need to get a bin or something for clothes we'd like to sell or donate. Anything that is stained, I've been soaking in Oxi-Clean for 12 hours (overnight) and it's worked for virtually every stain, so I'd highly recommend it! I soaked a huge batch of baby clothes w/ spitup and food stains in the bathtub overnight, and they look good as new!

Amy Phelps said...

I'm thrilled to join you ladies. I love accountability and this will be great. I'm also pleased this is the subject you chose first. It's not an area I struggle too much with. My "tips" may be repeats from above - I didn't have time to read them all. I have two boys, so this makes it easier to keep up with. AND God Blessed me with a "neat" first born and a "slob" second born. :) So, when son #1 outgrows his clothes, it goes right into a plastic bin in the son #2's closet. Fortunately for him, he gets lots of the new clothes. Now he is in school, and he wears a uniform so his clothes are less and less - walmart sales for the basic t-shirt colors and very few jeans. (Yeah uniforms) Each season I open the "bin" and organize winter from summer. I do not put off season clothes in their dressers. Sleeveless summer shirts are put away for summer - along with summer pj's and most shorts. I will keep a few shorts out for those rare occasions they need shorts on a fluke weather condition or a trip to the gym or something where they need to be in shorts. When a season "ends" I hand down the son #1's clothes and I go through son #2's clothes. In these young years, it's safe to say they will NOT wear these long sleeve shirts next winter, so get rid of them. If they have stains, I toss. Then I have a good friend I hand down the very cute stuff (gymboree etc.) and the other stuff goes into my MOPS/garage sale box. I do not bother to fold neatly, since they will go into a bag or the likes and have to be re-folded etc. If you deal with the clothes each season it does not get away from you. IF they do outgrow something before the season is over, it is dealt with right away (handed down, tossed, or garage sale) Son #2 doesn't get ALL hand me downs, so his clothes are in huge abundance, so to keep up with all that, I give myself permission to just get rid of some of the extra t-shirts or pajamas right away. He just does not need 20 t-shirts. MOre clothes = more laundry. My rule of thumb is if I can go 2 weeks w/o having to do laundry - they have too much - downsize.
I look forward to checking in to see how everyone did. ALthough I feel I'm "on top of this area" I'll accept the challenge and go purge again - probably OK to get rid of the very warm winter stuff. Living in CO we still need some warm jammies and warm shirts, but can probably get rid of the heavy fleece and get out the shorts at least. The sleevless can wait a bit. Thanks Ladies.

Ruth O said...

Great topic and fun to do with a friend! :) You've received some good suggestions for organizing children's clothing. Amy Dacyzyn also has some good suggestions in her book, The Tightwad Gazette. (Her suggestions are similar to Michal's.) I noticed when I was at Carrie's recently that she uses this same idea (sorting by age/size), but with copy paper boxes which stack nicely, are cheaper than plastic tote bins, and work fine if you have a dry storage area. Blessings, Ruth O.

jen said...

The best idea I've found yet is to keep a basket or bin in the bottom of the closet for too small clothes. When its full I just take them down to the basement & sort them into bins
I have four children. 3 boys (8,7&5 years) & 1 girl(2 years).
I sort by season for the olders & every couple of months for the youngers(growing faster.)
I have bins in the basement labeled by gender & age. It makes it easy to "shop" if there is a sudden growth spurt.
One thing I have been wanting to do & saw it suggested here is to put the clothes I am done with for now ( boys sizes 4& under & girls sizes 3& under) into space bags. That will be my project this week & then I will also tackle my own clothes because they have been seriously let go. Thanks to you & Monica for doing this.

Nancy Jacobs Basketmaster said...

My children are older, 11, 13, and 15. For years now, I've kept a Goodwill area outside their rooms in a descrete location and as they come across their own clothing that no longer fits or that they no longer like they put it in the Goodwill basket. Then about once a month, I go through the basket and find out why they don't like the item any longer and I ask the next sibling in line if they would like the item of clothing. This works for their toys too.

debra said...

Great tips. I only have one daughter so I do keep up on the clothing thing since when she's done wearing something I know I can get rid of it (by giving to friends, donating, or selling on Ebay).

Someone mentioned donating things w/ stains. Check with the place to which you are donating - we donate to St Vincent De Paul most of the time and they WILL take stained items as they will use them for rags.